The Italian word for history, “la storia”, also translates as ‘story’. This joint meaning goes beyond the past and into the future and it is particularly relevant when telling “la storia” of Tenuta Il Cascinone. The winery’s troubled past not only shaped its history, but played an important role is establishing its future, and today the winery is still evolving and growing.
Originally built in 1920, the estate quickly became known as a prominent producer of Barbera d’Asti. The steep slopes were renowned in the region and yielded incredible fruit but were notoriously difficult to maintain, and towards the second half of the century the winery began a slow decline into abandonment with many vines being lost along the way. In 1994 the estate was finally left to ruin.
Claudio Manera’s local knowledge led him to the site in the late 1990s. Not only were the terroir, aspect and location all ideal, but the estate’s rare size was a crucial factor. Known as “frammentazione fondiaria”, the tradition of dividing up farmland to be passed down from generation to generation has led to many vineyards in Italy being too small to make independent, commercial production possible. Such was the uniqueness of this site’s size, it was named “Il Cascinone”, meaning “the big farmstead”.
After purchasing the estate in 1999, Araldica began an extensive restoration project in 2001, including rebuilding the famous cellars. While many of the vines had been lost, there were still plots of Barbera, Moscato and Brachetto producing high quality fruit; Araldica worked to maintain these plots, and they are still thriving today at almost 45 years old. Claudio seized the opportunity to expand the winery’s repertoire in the vineyards that needed replanting. Firstly, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir were planted to create Alasia Brut, then Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Merlot soon followed.
The renovation was completed, and the site inaugurated in 2004. Today, Claudio’s son, Carlo, is taking over the reins at Il Cascinone, following in his Father’s footsteps of bringing new life and creativity to the estate. Experimenting with multi-vintage Barbera blends, new and unusual tanks and barrels in the cellar, and planting almost-forgotten local varieties like Slarina are just some of the innovations Carlo is using to put his own stamp on the wines. He is also working to make the winery as sustainable and environmentally sound as possible. All of the wines now carry the ‘SQNPI’ logo, which is a sustainable certification focused on using as minimal intervention as possible in the winery.
From humble beginnings, through trouble and ruin, Il Cascinone is now thriving, and is once again celebrated for its award-winning Barberas, as well as the other wines in the range. In the capable hands of Carlo Manera working together with Boutinot, the estate’s future is certainly bright…